Engineering wanted to let you know about a CSS change coming in Sugar 7.6 which is planned for release before end of June.  There has been an upgrade to the library we use for our icons called Font Awesome.  We will be upgrading from Font Awesome version 3.2.1 to 4.2.  So what does that mean for you?  Two things.

Font Awesome 3.x vs 4.x Performance

First thing is improved performance. Using Font Awesome 4.x is faster than using Font Awesome 3.x. But why?

An example of Font Awesome 3.x Bug icon markup

 <i class="icon-bug"></i>

The issue with Font Awesome 3.x is not so much the markup but the CSS selectors that were used to translate all the <i> elements in the page into nifty little icons.  Font Awesome 3.x CSS makes use of many regex style selectors like this example below.

[class^="icon-"],
[class*=" icon-"] {
 font-family: FontAwesome;
 ...
}

This means that regular expressions have to be run multiple times over every element on the page in order to translate all the icons properly.  For web applications with many HTML elements, like Sugar 7, this can result in a fairly significant performance impact.

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This post is targeted at beginner to intermediate Sugar Developers who want to add a subpanel to a module which returns custom results.

This post assumes some basic knowledge of Sugar 7 development, Sugar 7 administration, PHP, and SQL.  This article will hopefully be useful to those who have done some Sugar 7 development but are not necessarily experts.

The example in this post was created on an out-of-the-box installation of Sugar Professional 7.5.2.1 with the generated demo data.  But this technique should work on any on-premise Sugar 7 instance.

An acknowledgement

I recently needed to add a subpanel to a module which returned rows matching some unusual criteria.  The requirement for this subpanel didn’t match the standard one-to-many or many-to-many relationship with another module that a subpanel usually reflects.  I researched ways to do this and came across an excellent blog post on the subject by Shane Dowling.  Following what he had written I was able to accomplish my task.  This post is an attempt to make this technique accessible to those who are less familiar with Sugar 7 development.

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When it comes to customization, Sugar 7 is far away the best and most flexible CRM on the market. The Sugar framework empowers the developers to make heavy modifications in the user interface (UI) without touching the core of the product.

Our customers are always coming up with interesting use cases.  One customer asked me this question.

I don’t want my end users to accidentally unlink related Contact records.  Is it possible to selectively disable the Unlink button so that only some users are allowed to use it?

The Unlink action that our customer wanted disabled.

The Unlink action that our customer wanted disabled.

There are many ways to do this but here is an easy one that allow us to manage who has access to unlink a record using Teams.  But we could just as easily adapt this technique to use a Role or some other attribute of a Sugar user to do the same thing.  Sugar’s flexibility means your imagination is the limit.

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There are certain parts of the Sugar 7 user interface that are always available to the user.  For example, the Sugar Cube at the top left corner of both our mobile and web applications is always visible as an anchor that allows the user to return to their home dashboard.  Another example is the Help button that is displayed in the Sugar 7 footer.  It is available in every screen and allows the user to toggle the display of the contextual help dashboard for whatever they happen to be doing.

Help button in the Sugar 7 application footer

Help button in the Sugar 7 application footer

Most examples of UI customizations in Sugar 7 involve making additions to particular modules, dashboards, or screens within the application.  However certain features benefit from being available at all times because they can be applied universally.  A good example would be a collaboration feature such as in-application chat or a share button.

In this post, we will show how easy it is to add your own custom Views to the Sugar 7 application footer layout that can serve as anchors for a custom feature or integration with Sugar.

We will add a Chat button that will display an alert when it is clicked on whatever screen is currently in use.  You will see it is as easy as adding a new Sugar 7 view to an existing layout.

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In a recent blog post by W-Systems, an Elite SugarCRM Partner, the W-Systems team shows a great example of how to create a custom field type in Sugar 7 that allows you to place specially formatted text within a view.

This loadable module creates a new field type that allows you to format specific text on a record view to make it more noticeable to the reader. For instance if you want to bring special instructions or alerts to the record reader you may want to increase the text font size, change the font color or font background.

This custom field type is a great way to place in-line notifications on the Sugar 7 user interface.  You can also add as many as you want to the same view via Sugar Studio as you can see in the screenshot below.

Example of the custom field showing formatted text on a Sugar 7 Record View

Example of custom field showing formatted text on a Sugar 7 Record View

Custom fields allow Sugar Developers to get a lot of mileage out of a little work.  Developers focused on CRM implementations or who rely on the help of non-programmers to do Sugar administration and configuration should think about how they can use custom field types to get their projects done faster while using less code.

Head over to the W-Systems blog to find out more and try out this package for yourself!

The UnCon presentations along with all the other code and notes collected during UnCon are now available in the UnCon Github repository.

Check it out today and catch up on anything that you may have missed!

The next SugarCon will be in June 2016 at the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco!

We hope to see all the same faces and many more new ones at our next UnCon at SugarCon next year!

Thanks again to everyone who was at SugarCon UnCon!  I think we really took our UnCon to a whole new level this year and I was very happy to see it happen!  It was really satisfying to see everybody wearing their UnCon hoodies at the SugarCon after parties too.  :-)

Matt, I wasn’t able to attend all the sessions!  Where can I get at the slides?

I got that question all the time at UnCon.  Don’t worry guys!  We’ve got this.

I’m working on collecting the slides, source code, notes and any other materials produced for UnCon by the Sugar Engineering team and the Sugar Developer community.

Once I’ve got all the materials together and it’s ready to share, you guys will be the first to know!  Stay tuned.